Five Elements That Shape a Company’s Culture

BY Therese Pempeña Culture

Five Elements That Shape a Company’s Culture

Corporate culture is more than just the current trendy buzzword in Human Resources. In fact, the concept has been used in business and other organizations such as universities as early as the 1960s.[1]  But what is corporate culture? Investopedia defines corporate culture as the beliefs and behaviors that determine how a company’s employees and management interact and handle outside business transactions. 

Given that company culture governs such a large part of the business, leaders and Human Resources need to be more aware of how they are shaping theirs. Culture is created over time, and there is a myriad of factors that go into creating one, but there are certain factors that greatly influence it. If you want to build a good corporate culture, here are five elements that you need to keep a closer eye on.

Top Leadership

An organizations policies, procedures, and rules for employees and the company, in general, tend to be modeled on the leadership’s principles.[2] In time, their philosophies trickle down to their employees and reflect in behavior. Therefore, having a “Do as I say, not as I do” style of management will not work.

Mission and Vision

A great culture starts with a vision or mission statement, according to Harvard Business Review.[3] A vision is more than just a collection of fancy words—it’s what guides the company’s values and gives it purpose. That purpose, in turn, orients every decision employees make. When a well-articulated vision statement resonates with the customers and community, it also reflects on corporate image and brand identity.

Core Values

While the company’s vision or mission guides its purpose, the company’s values make up the core of its culture. Values serve as a set of guidelines on the behaviors and mindsets needed to achieve the company’s vision. Core values need to be clearly communicated to all employees so that they become the guiding principle for how they serve clients, treat colleagues and uphold professional standards.

Company Practices

Having a vision and core values means nothing if they are not put into practice. So if your company professes that people are its greatest asset, back it up by investing in your employees in visible ways. Provide additional training and education or give them a clear path for career progression. At the same time, core values must be the basis for employee review criteria and promotion policies to reinforce them.


Corporate culture simply doesn’t exist without people that share the company’s core values or the willingness to embrace those values as their own. This is why recruitment is one of the most important parts of building a great culture. HR needs to look for individuals that are not only talented and capable, but are the perfect cultural fit. 

New employees go through a period of enculturation, in which they adjust to becoming a part of the corporate culture of the new company.[4] It’s up to leaders and HR practitioners help these employees to embrace the organization’s beliefs and practices to maintain its culture.

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